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If It Works For You

April 23, 2009

nytimes-pic-baby-to-work-32709There has been much media buzz generated lately about bringing babies to work. NPR and USA Today recently ran stories on the number of companies which allow new parents to bring their infants to work (usually until mobile, around 6 months old). Also, the NY Times ran the picture to the left on March 27, 2009 of a mom bringing her baby to work.  According to the USA Today article, Day care’s new frontier: Your baby at your desk, there are more than 80 companies that allow this very family-friendly benefit. 

As I read the stories I reflected back on the time surrounding my son’s birth (just a short 8 months ago) and thought what it would be like to have him in my office (I work from home so he’s here but not technically in the office).  On the days he was an angel it would have been a huge benefit for me to have him at work so I could accomplish both tasks – taking care of business and my son and not relying on someone to do it for me.  But on the days he was fussy, obviously he would have taken precedent.    

But I do find the direction in which companies are moving to be more family-friendly very heart warming.  As I wrote in a earlier post – “93% of women who off-ramp want to go back to work, but only 40% of these women succeed in finding mainstream jobs.” (Source: Off-Ramps and On-Ramps by Sylvia Ann Hewlett).  As the articles and stories stated this new family-friendly trend (or fad) won’t work for every company or industry but if companies don’t get a handle on the ability to retain female talent they will struggle to compete.  Add this struggle in retention to the retiring Baby Boomers, Millennials’ desire to put family first and the US not attracting oversees talent in the way it has in the past – there is a perfect storm brewing that will have tough consequences for companies to adapt to.

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